Curtains close: Kirby family sell Sorrento cinemas

It is the end of an era in cinema ownership circles, with Village Roadshow founders and owners the Kirby family disposing of two picture theatres, including a historic ex-hall in Sorrento which it controlled for more than 70 years.
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The dynasty is understood to be banking more than $10 million for the assets, occupied long-term by the entertainment giant, and offered to investors with leasebacks of 10 years with options.

About 91 kilometres south of the CBD, the Sorrento complex at 26-36 Ocean Beach Road was built by Isaac Bensilum in 1894 as the Athenaeum Hall, where it hosted artists performing while on holidays.

On a 1120 square-metre block, the asset with three show screens was offered as an investment returning starting annual rent of $235,186.

A little closer to town in Rosebud, also on the Mornington Peninsula, a five-screen cinema capable of accommodating almost 800 moviegoers, has also found a buyer. Some 75 kilometres from the CBD, on a 2800 square-metre plot at 30 Rosebud Parade, behind a row of shops on Nepean Highway, this asset returns a net yearly income of $278,805.

CBRE’s Rorey James, Justin Dowers, Kevin Tong and Nic Hage marketed the sites.

In September, it was reported Village Roadshow would bank about $100 million selling (on a leaseback) Gold Coast theme parks: Warner Bros Movie World, Wet ‘n’ Wild Gold Coast, Paradise Country and Village Roadshow Studios.

YCH lists another ex-hostel

Yarra Community Housing is offloading another prime inner-city holding, this time in Fitzroy North.

The 11-bedroom former hostel at 5 Michael Street is expected to sell for between $2.5 million and $2.75 million following a campaign by Jellis Craig’s Bev Adams and Peter Batrouney.

Marketed as a grand renovation rescue prospect, in a prestige location, the wide Victorian occupies a 356 square-metre plot near the Queens Parade shopping village.

Earlier this year an investor who in 2015 paid YCH $4.8 million for another historic double-storey at 34-36 Nicholson Street, Fitzroy, applied to build a 10-storey, 72-unit apartment complex, behind the facade.

Donvale investor keeps $9m in the neighbourhood

A Donvale resident who inspected an investment property in his suburb 48 hours before an auction scheduled yesterday outmuscled four serious groups to snare it for $8.95 million.

The 4800 square-metre landholding at 77-79 Mitcham Road, configured with a 7-Eleven service station and a car wash, returns annual rent of $382,547 and is changing hands on a 4.27 per cent yield.

With 73 metres frontage to the road where an estimated 23,000 cars a day pass, and less than a kilometre from the Eastlink motorway, the property also was marketed for its medium-term redevelopment potential.

CVA managing director Ian Angelico sold the site before a large crowd for $400,000 over reserve.

Developers circling Pompei’s famous boat shed

The historic Mordialloc property known as Pompei’s Boat Shed – for years operated by late angler and boat builder, Jack Pompei OAM, is said to be in post-auction negotiations with a handful of the developers who watched it pass in last week.

The spectacularly located 973 square-metre holding, abutting council land and the Mordialloc Creek, was listed last month with vacant possession – ending a family association with the site which began in the 1930s.

Jack became a custodian of the Mordialloc Creek, once joking it was so clean fish would develop tears in their eyes as they swam it.

It was from this workshop that the angler, who couldn’t swim, set out to rescue hundreds of distressed Port Phillip Bay users (when Victoria’s Water Police was established in the 1970s, Jack was made an honorary member).

The property is opposite a statue and bridge named after the local celebrity.

The boat business, now run by Jack’s family, has agreed to sign a short-term leaseback on the building upon any sale.

The campaign for 557-561 Main Street, run by Teska Carson’s George Takis and Michael Taylor, was said to have piqued the interest of numerous developers. It is expected to sell for more than $3 million and make way for a three-level building, likely with shop-top apartments.

Mattioli Group offloads Balwyn office for $7.6m

Another office investment in a blue-ribbon Melbourne suburb is selling on a low yield.

In Balwyn, the Mattioli Group is banking $7.55 million from the sale of a new four-level complex on the corner of Balwyn and Belmore roads. At the edge of a retail strip, the 838 square-metre building is configured with three shops on ground level and basement car parking.

Based on the building’s annual rental return of just under $350,000, it is changing hands on a 4.4 per cent yield.

Vinci Carbone director Frank Vinci said the asset still offers depreciation benefits. He said the campaign attracted a mix of more than 80 local and international private investors and syndicates.

The deal comes a week after the Bloom family, founders of the Portmans retail chain, sold a double-storey retail and office complex at 131-133 Glenferrie Road, Malvern, for $7.85 million, against a $6.5 million guide price.

In Hawthorn, local developer Benson Property Group has applied to build a five-level apartment complex on the site of a low-rise Burwood Road office which it bought for $10.5 million earlier this year.

Burgundy Plaza sells on 1.75% yield

A local Chinese syndicate fended off more than 25 groups, said to have included hardware giant Bunnings, to secure Heidelberg’s Burgundy Plaza at auction for $14.4 million.

The purchase price – $4 million over the reserve – puts the transaction’s yield at a low 1.75 per cent.

With 11 ground level shops and upstairs offices, the complex at 101-111 Burgundy Street sits on a 2520 square-metre Commercial 1 zoned site with a 31-bay car park.

On a corner block, the centre was marketed for its redevelopment potential – the agents suggesting the airspace could make way for an approximate 10-storey tower in the longer term.

CBRE marketing agent Mark Wizel said that to receive more than 25 offers totalling more than $220 million for a strata retail asset “with limited immediate development potential in a suburb with a median house price of only $760,000 four years ago suggests growing demand from buyers looking to secure landholdings with long-term future development underpinned by nearby employment options, retail and transport amenity”.

The site was marketed with colleagues Lewis Tong, Nathan Mufale and JJ Heng with Miles Real Estate’s Paul Evans and Tim Mitchell.

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Sir Reginald Ansett’s grazing property to fetch $40m

The last parcel of Sir Reginald Ansett’s former estate, a 22-hectare beachfront grazing property in Melbourne’s bayside Mount Eliza, has been put on the market with expectations around $40 million.
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Equity Trustees, which manages the R.M. Ansett Trust, will offload the large block of vacant land to free up funds for the trust, which donates to charities that run child-focused programs and scholarships.

Sir Reginald was best known for founding Ansett Airlines, which collapsed in 2001.

The land between Kunyung Road and Port Phillip Bay is next door to the 8.9-hectare former home of University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Business School.

The university sold the Business School, which features a historic waterfront mansion, to New Zealand’s Ryman Healthcare last year for nearly $40 million.

It was originally established as a country estate called Moondah by James Grice in 1888. Ryman plans to convert its grand 42-room mansion and numerous outbuildings into an aged care facility.

The trust’s 22.3-hectare block sits between Moondah and Sir Reginald’s original residence, an 11.7-hectare estate called Gunyong Valley, which the trust sold in 2006.

Gunyong was purchased by retirement village operator Charles “Chas” Jacobson for $14.5 million to turn into a holiday compound for his family.

A small portion of the trust’s land has direct access to Moondah beach, which adjoins Sunnyside Beach, a popular bathing site for nudists.

The area is covered by a green wedge zone that severely limits future development. It stretches across four titles between the coast, Kunyung Road and Albatross Avenue about 45 kilometres from Melbourne.

“Through this process we plan to release the value in the land and invest it back into the community,” Equity Trustees managing director Mick O’Brien said.

“The land is currently vacant and has been historically used for grazing.”

The expression-of-interest sale will be handled by professional services firm EY.

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100 million coffee cups needed to start recycling program

The takeaway cup holding your morning flat white could soon be turned into outdoor furniture, building materials, or food trays.
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Australians have recently been grappling with the fact at least one billion disposable coffee cups end up in landfill each year because the thin plastic lining often stops them from being recycled.

Stacked end-to-end, one billion coffee cups would stretch 120,000 kilometres, or three times around the world.

Environmental solutions company Closed Loop is hoping to ease the overwhelming waste problem by February, through its Simply Cups initiative, which aims to collect 100 million cups to start up a commercially viable recycling facility.

Since a public campaign in Sydney and Melbourne’s financial districts last year, Simply Cups has collected paper cups from large companies such as ANZ and Australia Post, from schools, universities, and office buildings like the Rialto building in Melbourne and Herbert Smith Freehills law firm in Sydney.

Now 7-Eleven has announced it will put Simply Cups recycling bins in 200 of its stores, at universities and construction sites from March next year, with the aim of recycling the 70 million cups its consumers use each year.

Simply Cups’ Rob Pascoe said the program had been collecting cups for four months, using them to trial a recycling method which separates the paper and plastic. It then turns the paper to valuable pulp, and the plastic to a form that can be used in other items.

The machinery will be running by February, and will process between four and six tonnes of cups a day at a plant in Adelaide, or in a mobile facility that will go interstate.

Mr Pascoe said people were still shocked to discover coffee cups cannot be recycled through council depots.

“I think people believed in paper cups, and it was one of the main reasons we changed from polystyrene cups about 10 years ago,” Mr Pascoe said.

“People were thinking ‘that’s great, they’re paper and they can be recycled’, but they can’t.”

Simply Cups also wants to put 100 million of its own cups into the market, with 1?? from every cup used to fund the recycling, and is encouraging other big businesses to sign up to their collection service.

It also supports the use of reusable cups, like KeepCup, which experienced a 403 per cent increase in online sales after the ABC’s War on Waste program aired.

Environmentalist Tim Silverwood, the co-founder of marine pollution action group Take 3, said there should be a greater focus on phasing out single use items.

“It’s things like plastic straws, plastic cutlery, plastic take-away containers. It’s just not on, in this day and age, to be producing items that we use for a couple of minutes that last on our planet forever.”

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Dawson in for Kookaburras

HECTIC: Australian representative Matt Dawson, playing for Norths earlier this year, has ongoing commitments with the Kookaburras including the International Festival of Hockey in Victoria from Sunday. Picture: Jonathan CarrollNext year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Gamesremainthe dangling “carrot” for Norths hockey product Matt Dawson, but right now he finds himself in the midst of a busyblock with the Kookaburras
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Fresh from his secondOceania Cup success last month Dawson is also eyeing off Hockey World League finals in India next month, but in the middle will be the International Festival of Hockeyin Victoria.

That tournament, the second of its kind, starts on Sunday with the Australian men’s team having travelledto Bendigo on Friday.

The Kookaburras play New Zealand twice on back-to-back days before moving to Melbourne and tackling Pakistan (November 8), the Kiwis again (November 9) and Japan (November 11). Play-offs are next Sunday (November 12).

“The last three months of the year were always going to be big,” Dawson said.

“But I guess it’s exciting times with a major tournament to finish …and in the back of my mind is always Commonwealth Games at the start of next year as well.

“It’s always nice to represent Australia but being Commonwealth Games and being on the Gold Coast would be pretty special.”

And in the absence of a few senior squad membersnext week the 23-year-old defender, who has 79 caps next to his name since debuting in 2014, wants to step up.

“We’ve probably lost a little bit of experience from the team for the end of the year,” he said.

“I think it’s a bit of my time to step up and take control a little bit.”

Meanwhile, Teralba’s Mariah Williams wasn’t named in the Hockeyroos squad for the International Festival of Hockey in Victoria, butinstead returns from injury fora three-Test series against Japan in Adelaide from November 15 to 18.

Glittering skyscraper plans fall over, buyers refunded

At least 581 apartment buyers have been left in the lurch after a Singaporean developer pulled the plug on a glittering 71 storey Melbourne tower following a long and bitter legal battle that undermined the project.
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Developer CEL Australia, a subsidiary of Singapore-listed construction giant Chip Eng Seng, will be forced to refund an estimated $50 million in buyer deposits after cancelling its Tower Melbourne project.

Tower Melbourne’s failure is the first breakdown of a major city project in years.

The tower designed by architects Elenberg Fraser was set rise 220 metres on the corner of Bourke and Queen streets.

Apartments in the project were controversially sold to buyers in 2013 before CEL had received planning approval after it was advertised as “an iconic place to live in the world’s most livable city.”

In a major upset, CEL’s glittering tower plans clashed with another project proposed by a deep-pocketed neighbour – a company controlled by the wealthy Singaporean Chow family – who launched vigorous legal action.

The subsequent clash turned Tower Melbourne into one of the city’s longest running and most litigious real estate disputes.

The rivals launched half a dozen cases – two Supreme Court appearances, a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal case, several Building Appeal Board (BAB) sittings and a formal complaint to Victoria’s ombudsman.

“Over the course of the past four years, CEL Australia has faced significant delays in the construction of its Tower Melbourne project, due to numerous legal disputes with an adjoining landowner,” CEL said Friday.

The numerous delays has pushed the prospect of building Tower Melbourne beyond the date of registration in buyers’ contracts, forcing the company to abort the project.

“CEL Australia has concluded that regrettably, Tower Melbourne in its current form is no longer viable for the company to develop,” it said.

“As a result, CEL Australia is left with no choice but to cancel all the outstanding purchaser contracts.”

CEL said it was informing purchasers about the cancellation and would pay back buyers’ deposits in full with any interest they had accrued.

“As at the date of this announcement, there are 556 sale contracts,” the group said. Buyers of the remaining units had already requested their contracts be terminated, it said. iFrameResize({resizedCallback : function(messageData){}},”#pez_iframe_tipstar_630″);

The legal battle that engulfed the project is still ongoing.

CEL’s plot at 160 Queen Street has sat silent for years, wrapped in scaffolding and screens with an idle crane perched on top and the company said it was now considering other options for the land including selling it.

The failure of the tower would not have a “significant impact on the net tangible assets and earnings per share” of the compnay this year. CEL said.

The developer’s other projects, Williamsons Estate Townhouses and Willow Apartments in Doncaster, were not affected.

It has recently acquired additional sites both in Melbourne and other Australian states on which it will launch projects in the second quarter of next year.

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Locke takes bedroom dreams to Universe

LONG WAIT: Jess Locke’s second album Universe features songs written over the past five years by the Central Coast indie-folk musician.
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THERE were days when Jess Locke punched out songs in her bedroom and simply uploaded them to music sharing sites.

It provided instant gratification, and most importantly, taught the Avoca Beach-raised indie-folk musician how to write songs.

That was 2009. Fast forward to a month ago and the Melbourne-based Locke releasedher secondalbum, Universe, and her first on the Smith Street Band’s label Pool House Records.

“I used to just record things on my laptop mike,” Locke said.“It was about having the need to put something down and out into the world, maybe a few people would hear it.

“It was a start, now it’s a much more organised process, rather than recording a song and posting it on the internet that night. There’s a year recording and mixing and planning a promo.

“It’s a longer process, but a broader reach and hopefully I’ll have more people hear it. Obviously I have more people involved. It’s not me in my bedroom anymore.”

While Universe is Locke’s second album, following 2015’sWords That Seem to Slip Away, it feels like a debut.

Jess Locke – Drive To DrinkWith the backing of a band, the record is morerealised and has already taken Locke’s vulnerable and conversational tunes to a greater audience.

“We’ve been playing them together for three years, some of the songs anyway, so it’s doesn’t feel too sudden for me,” Locke said.

“But in terms of releasing, if you look at the last release, it’s definitely a big step.

“My head has been in the process for a few years, but stepping back it’s bit of a marker and a pretty big development.”

There’s a beautiful contrast on Universe. Locke’s sweet vocals are reminiscent on The Howling Bells’ Juanita Stein, while musically there’s touches of Courtney Barnett and Angel Olsen.

Musically the arrangements are simplistic and almost poppy, but there’s a darkness permeating in the lyrics.

Particularly on the domestic violence-themed Violent Turn and rehashed opener Drive To Drink.

The latter originally appeared on Locke’s 2011 EP Skins, but is given the full band treatment on Universe.

“Honestly it was one of those things where my drummer suggested it,” she said of revisiting DriveTo Drink.

“We had a jam of it and it just worked. I felt like there was something, as we played it as a band, that felt new and made it a different song in a way. In that format it hadn’t been realised.

“After a few years it’s been given a new life.”

Universe had a lengthy gestation period. The majority of the album was written across five years before it wasrecorded in the bandroom of the Reverence Hotel in Footscray and inSmith Street Band bassistMichael Fitzgerald’s parent’s house.

Finally free of this batch, Locke plans to beginwriting the next album.

“This one has been such a slow build from over the years, it’s been awhile since I sat down and wrote,” Locke said.“I’m actually excited about that.”

Jess Locke plays at the Lass O’Gowrie Hotel on Thursday.

Five highlights in your travel week5 Nov

Scenic Helicopters … offering a range of Margaret River tours, from winery-hoppers to heli-fishing adventures. Scenic Helicopter owner/pilot Jackson McLeod has used his local knowledge of Western Australia’s Margaret River region to create a range of tours, from winery-hoppers to heli-fishing adventures.
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Get a bird’s eye view of the stunning Capes coastline, arrange a surprise romantic flight and picnic at a secret beach location, or spend time tasting and lunching at your favourite wineries.

While the Margaret River region isn’t necessarily as well known for its fishing as it is for wine, food and surf, Scenic’s ‘Helifishing Down South’ tour is growing in popularity as people discover the great ocean fishing there.

The Margaret River heli-tour season runs from late October to April and prices start from $100 per person.

Phone 0428 058 157 or visit 梧桐夜网scenichelicopters南京夜网419论坛

Peppers Soul … high-rise luxury of the Gold Coast.

Mantra Hotels is offering price cuts on stays at more than 20 Gold Coast properties, valid for bookings made by November 13 and for stays until March 31.

Stay, for instance, at Peppers Soul for a minimum three nights from $329 per night in a one-bedroom ocean-view apartment.

Other special rates include BreakFree Moroccan, which is priced from $126 per night in a one-bedroom apartment for a minimum five-night stay, and $156 per night for a minimum three-night stay at Mantra Crown Towers.

Phone 1300 987 603 or visit 梧桐夜网MantraHotels南京夜网

Mercure Perth … a new room design reflects the city’s vibrant centre.

Mercure Perth has bid farewell to its former colour schemes and embraced a colourful new design following a $1 million refurbishment.

The hotel has transformed the look and feel of its guestroom interiors with bright, energetic and relaxed decor to reflect the hotel’s location in the heart of Perth’s vibrant city centre.

The program includes a makeover of 239 guestrooms and suites as well as the hotel’s rooftop leisure playground with heated swimming pool, sun deck and hot tub.

To celebrate, it is offering $1 breakfast on selected rates this summer, valid for bookings made till February 28 and for stays until March 31.

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In the heart of Darling Harbour action … Sydney’s Metro Apartments Darling Harbour.

Sydney’s Metro Apartments Darling Harbour is offering a Sydney attractions package priced at $269 per night Sunday to Thursday, and $369 per night on Fridays and Saturdays.

Kids under-12 stay free in a one-bedroom apartment, with free wi-fi and kids’ goodies pack on arrival.

Each family gets an attractions pass valid for two adults and two children, with choice of entry to two attractions, including Sydney Tower Eye, Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, Madame Tussauds, Wild Life Sydney Zoo and Manly Sea Life Sanctuary.

The offer is valid until the end of summer, and for bookings of two nights or longer.

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Truffle Lodge … luxurious glamping accommodation beside the Derwent.

It’s a case of the Australian bush camp meets Arabian nights.

Nestled on the banks of Tasmania’s Derwent River, just 45 minutes from Hobart’s city centre, in one of Australia’s first truffle orchards, Truffle Lodge offers a luxury glamping experience.

Activities include kayaking, biking, fly-fishing, walks through the truffle orchard and wildlife spotting.

Accommodation is in private, spacious African-safari-style tents, each equipped with king beds, lounges, heating and cooling, minibar, refrigerators, coffee machines, as well as its own bathroom inside a converted water tank.

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Former Jet returns in Sydney FC colours

Coming back to Newcastle on Saturday will not be easy for Chloe Logarzo.
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The 22-year-old Matildas midfielder began her W-League career with Sydney FC but joined the Jets in 2015 in a move she hoped would reignite her football career.

It worked. Logarzo found more game time with the Jets and earned a Matildas recall before playing at the Rio Olympic Games and establishing herselfin the national team.

But she was forced to watch from the sidelines last W-League season after sustaining an ankle injury while playing for Eskilstuna United in Norway.

Logarzo was expected back in Jets colours for 2017-18 but made a last-minute decision to sign withSydney.

It was a decision she did not made lightly and returning to play the Jets at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday will be tough.

“It’s going to be hard.It’s going to be so weird being on the other side,” Logarzo said.

NEW CHAPTER: Chloe Logarzo is grateful for her time in Newcastle. Picture: Simone De Peak

“Stepping away from Sydney was probably the best decision I made for my career and especially stepping into the path of Deansy [Jets coach Craig Deans].

“I commend everything he’s done for me, getting me back into the Matildas team and always being a support for me when I didn’t really have anyone. He’s not just a coach, he’s a mate of mine now andI really appreciate everything he did for me.”

After a character-building year overcoming a string of injuries Logarzo said being closer to family in Sydney ultimately proved the deciding factor.

“It was really hard; it took me a lot longer than I thought to get back onto my feet,”she said.

“One injury led to another, which was heart-breaking for me but it’s good to finally be back on the pitch and it’s nice to be back at home surrounded by my family. Coming back to Sydney has made me realise how much I have matured as a player.”

Logarzo said the Sky Blues expected a tough battle in Newcastle and needed a more “unified” performance after losing 3-1 to Brisbane in round one.

“Obviously they had their first win on the weekend and they did well,” she said.

“Deansy isa great coach so he’s going to get the best out of all of them.”

Region the ‘guinea pig’ for widespread privatisation

It must sometimes seem that the Hunter is the guinea pig for the NSWCoalitiongovernment’s ideological experiments. Following the privatisation of Newcastle’s buses and ferries,the sale of the Belmont TAFE site is in the news again.The state government also still seems intent on privatising Maitland Hospital. Butthe Hunter’s fighting spirit may still prevail and stop or reverse thesell-off of public assets.
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MAITLAND ACTION: Community and union campaigns have forced the government to abandon privatisation plans for other state hospitals, Senator Rhiannon says. Photo: Marina Neil

TAFE NSW is already reeling from the privatisation of technical education with 100,000 fewer students and 5000 fewer teachers compared with five years ago. Thousands of those lost students live in the Hunter. TheAustralian Government Actuary has calculated that more thana billion dollars of public money has been lost due to corruption in the privatisation of technical education.

If TAFE NSW is to stage a comeback – and the Greens andLaborare pledged to restore a healthy TAFE system – it will need all its campuses. So far sell-offs have not takenplace, whichis a tribute to the campaigns of teachers and the public. But it is not time for complacency. The government is advertising for a TAFE ‘portfolio divestment manager’ to ‘coordinate the portfolio of divestment projects from initiation to closure’. That has to ring alarm bells.

The Hunterappears to be the bunny in hospital privatisationtoo.A year ago the state government announced the privatisation of five regional public hospitals – Bowral, Goulburn, Wyong, Shellharbour and Maitland. A year later, onlyMaitland hospital is still slated for privatisation. Community and union campaigns have forced the government to abandon their plans for the other hospitals.

Health MinisterBradHazzard is trying to allay fears by promising that the privatisationof Maitlandwill be undertaken by a non-profit. Yet, as unions have pointed out, guarantees about staffing, wages and conditions,and the quality of care,willlast only two years.

Yet all is far fromlost. The Hunter can do what other communities have done. Maitland Hospital and Belmont TAFE can be saved as public assets. Our buses can return to public ownership. Support for re-nationalising privatised public assets is emerging. Privatisation of our electricity sector has been a huge failure. Instead of the promised greater efficiency and lower prices we have had double-digit increases in power bills and failures in supply.

This has led to JohnQuiggin, professor of economics at Queensland University, proposing that the Commonwealth and state governments buy back the grid and manage it. The aim would be to guaranteereliable supply, modernisethe grid for renewables andchargereasonable prices for households and businesses.

Likewise,theGreens andLaborsupport the ‘re-nationalisation’ of the TAFE sector. This would be achieved by guaranteeing that 85% (or 70% in the case ofLabor) of government funding for technical and further education go to TAFE.

These are practical initiatives that would benefit the people of the Hunter.Electricity prices fell in the decades priorto privatisationwhen the electricity sector was government-owned. Investment in renewables could benefit the Hunter with thousands of new jobs in advanced manufacturing.

More investment in TAFE to supply the skilled workers needed for this renewables future would follow logically.

None of this will be easy as the present NSW government has a dogmatic belief in privatisations. Yet with a combination of community and union campaigns, leading to a change of government in 18 months, the ideological experiment which threatens the Hunter and its future can be reversed.

Lee Rhiannon, Australian Greens Senator for NSW

‘Reddy to go to war’: Share bikes dumped in blind man’s backyard

As a blind person, Alistair Lee was already having troubles with share-bikes on footpaths. Now he’s discovered two Reddy Go bikes dumped in his backyard.
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On Friday morning he found two bikes that had been thrown over the back fence of his home in North Sydney, landing in the yard and destroying a clothes line and damaging a table.

Mr Lee, who is profoundly blind, said he discovered the bikes were there when his partner walked into the back garden.

“Sarah went out and said ‘oh my goodness, there’s two bikes in your garden!'” he said.

“It’s literally happened overnight. I didn’t hear them and the dog didn’t either.

“Whilst I am extremely annoyed, I can see the funny side. I guess you could say I’m ‘Reddy’ to go to war with them.

“[The bikes] are still there. I probably won’t get any washing done today.”

The washing line wasn’t the only casualty of the dumped bikes.

“When they’ve thrown the bike over, it’s obviously hit the table so hard it’s bent the table as well,” he said.

He said that this was the first time anything had been thrown into his garden.

“Where we are, we’re in quite a busy area of North Sydney but we’ve never had anything thrown over the back fence,” he said.

A spokesman for Reddy Go said: “We are deeply sorry that the bikes been thrown into Mr Lee’s garden and hope the police would help us to find out who did this. Bad behaviours should be penalised.”

He said the company would collect the bikes, pay to have Mr Lee’s washing line repaired and replace the table.

This isn’t the first time the Reddy Go bikes have caused trouble for Mr Lee.

In early October, he tripped over two bikes that were left in the middle of the pathway near his house.

“I went around to see someone and fell over two of them within half a metre of each other,” he said.

“It is a problem. I’m all for people getting on bikes but I do have a problem with the council having no effective policies for these bikes to be stored. Pedestrian walkways are for pedestrians, not bikes.”

As an online company, Reddy Go only takes reports of misplaced bikes through app, social media and email.

Mr Lee’s partner Sarah Downie posted to the company’s Facebook last month asking for Reddy Go to do more when it came to bikes being dumped.

Alistair Lee’s partner alerted Reddy Go to issues he was having via their Facebook page in early October.

Reddy Go apologised in a reply and said that it employed staff to maintain and relocate bikes across Sydney.

North Sydney Council is set to introduce new policies, aimed at regulating where people can leave the bikes, at a council meeting on November 20.

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FACS fails to meet standards

Six months: Hunter New England FACS office has an extended deadline to meet Children’s Guardian accreditation standards or it will be stripped of its authority to oversee children in out of home care.
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THE Hunter’s Family and Community Services (FACS) office could be stripped of itsauthority to oversee out of home care for at-risk children after failing to meetaccreditation requirements.

The Hunter New England FACS district has beengiven a “six month lifeline”to meet the Office of Children’s Guardian standards or have its accreditation withdrawn.

The move could put the safety of “thousands of Hunter children” at risk, family and community services shadow minister Tania Mihailuk said, as the “under-resourced” officemonitoredthe most children in care, and the most children at risk of harm, of any FACS office.

The districtfailed to meet accreditation standards in September 2016, when itwas given a one-year extension.

MsMihailuksaid if itdid not meet thisadditional six-month deadline, the responsibility of overseeing out of home carewould be transferred to anotherFACS district.

“It would shifta serious under-resourcing burden on to another district, instead of providing FACS with the resources it needs,” she said.

FACS hasnot revealed what criteria the Hunter New England district havefailed to meet, but aspokesperson saiditwas not due to any child protection risks.

The Hunter office monitorsmore than 3200 children in care, receivesalmost 16,000 reportsof children at risk of harm,and hasthemost child protection caseworker vacancies,FACSstatistics show.It hadthelowest rate offace-to-face assessments, seeing21 per cent of childrenreportedat risk of harm in the June 2017 quarter.

“The lifeline given to the Hunter New England office will be pointless unless it receives an urgent funding injection to meet the Children’s Guardian’s standards,”MsMihailuk said.

A FACS spokesperson said the NSW Government was spending $63 million in four years toboost the number of caseworkers andsupport workers, including in Hunter New England.

“We will work to address thefeedback provided in the coming months as part of our ongoing effort to provide the best support to children and young people in out of home care and their carers.”

Kate Washington, shadow minister for the Hunter, said the number of children in out of home care in the regionwas at “levels we have never seen before.”

“The poor staff are doing all they can with the little they have got,” she said. “But the majority of children at risk of harm aren’t having caseworkers even contact them. For the agency that is responsible for the oversight of those children once they are in careto be found to have not met accreditation criteria, is just horrifying.”

The Herald

Health Department to cut 55 jobs, shift hundreds more to Social Services

The Health Department will cut jobs for the second time this year as it sheds 55 staff and moves hundreds more employees into the Department of Social Services.
Nanjing Night Net

Health’s public servants learnt of the overhaul on Thursday afternoon as the department starts to transfer hundreds of staff over several years into Social Services, which will take over its grants administration work.

Among staff leaving Health in the latest shake-up, the department has identified 55 positions it won’t need after the restructure.

Department first assistant secretary Donna Moody told employees that redundancies would be forced on staff that Health could not redeploy.

New Health Department boss Glenys Beauchamp. Photo: Vince Caligiuri

It plans to move grants administration into the new community grants hub run by Social Services, forcing a restructure in its Canberra division where positions will be declared vacant and staff will be asked to send expressions of interest for available roles.

“This process will be run over the next month or so with the expectation that it will be finalised by mid-December and that the new structure will commence in mid-January,” Ms Moody said.

“As of today there is an opportunity for voluntary redundancies for all staff who are in scope for the EOI process. Staff not placed in the new structure will be supported to find redeployment opportunities, however involuntary redundancy processes will apply for those who are not able to be redeployed.”

Staff reductions in the Health department’s state and territory network are expected to be made through natural attrition.

The latest round of job cuts comes towards the end of a volatile year for the department, which announced it was shedding 250 staff through voluntary redundancies in February, parted ways with former secretary Martin Bowles in August and subsequently welcomed new boss Glenys Beauchamp.

A Health department spokeswoman said under reforms to improve grants administration across the Australian Public Service, the Department of Social Services was one of two hubs consolidating the grant process across government.

“The department has reassured staff that there will be open and fair processes and staff will be fully supported,” she said.

Community and Public Sector Union deputy secretary Beth Vincent-Pietsch said Health had told the union most if not all of the positions would be cut through voluntary redundancy and redeployment in its bid to overhaul how funding for health services was administered and monitored.

She said the second round of major job cuts in Health was compromising its work and said the Turnbull government was attacking the public service.

“Health is one of numerous agencies that’s no longer provided with enough funding to properly do the work expected of it by the Australian public. Budgets have been cut to the point where there’s no choice but to cut jobs, inevitably hurting the core functions and services agencies provide,” Ms Vincent-Pietsch said.

“Health staff understand the theoretical benefits of a restructured grants process, but they have well-founded concerns that years of reviews and ‘streamlining’ have in fact resulted in less efficiency and ineffective management of risk.”

Ms Moody told employees Health was talking with the Social Services department about how it would move grants administration there, and said no formal agreement had been made.

Health’s national office in Canberra would shrink from three branches to two and from 13 sections to seven, reducing jobs from 145 to about 90.

State managers will review their divisions and make adjustments, Ms Moody said.

“The state and territory offices will also need to continue contributing to the division’s required reduction in resources to ensure we live within our means.”

Mr Bowles told staff early this year the department was cutting jobs in a bid for “affordable” staff numbers amid federal budgetary constraints.

The announcement came after he flagged last year that budget and staffing issues would be the department’s largest challenges in 2017.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

How decline in bees affects global food production

Winnie the Pooh said, “The only reason for being a bee is to make honey. And the only reason for making honey is so I can eat it”, but indeed in the wider scheme of things most of our food depends on the pollination services that the worker bees offer to us as they buzz about their business of collecting nectar from the flowers to bring back to the hive to make honey.Famine would be widespread without such pollinators, and any decline in bee numbers is therefore of major concern.
Nanjing Night Net

In the Northern Hemisphere beehives have been increasingly showing evidence of Colony Collapse Disorder where the worker bees, the foragers who bring the nectar and pollen to the hive, disappear leaving the queen and the juvenile immature bees without enough food for survival.There is no consensus as to the cause of CCD but a new class of insecticides, the neonicotinoids, are receiving much attention. These are the most widely used class of insecticides since pest insects have evolved resistance to traditional insecticides.

Scientific studies are underway across the world to categorise the levels of these chemicals that can be safely used and, at the same time, legislators are banning or restricting the use of some or all of this family of insecticides.Bans or temporary bans exist across Europe but not in the UK or Australia.

A recent study on 198 honey samples from across the world reported neonicotinoids in three quarters of all samples, although at levels below the maximum residue level authorised for human consumption.

Efficient food production relies on strong crop growth, which depends on keeping insect pests to a minimum but if the insecticides used also affect the bees, then pollination will be affected and food production will plummet.

Professor Tim Roberts is the director of the Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment at the University of Newcastle